Heritage School has implemented a new approach to recreation therapy called the “Seven Skills of Resiliency.”
Therapeutic Recreation Supervisor, Laura Bennion, said the rec therapy staff attended a conference in April held by the Utah Recreation Therapy Association and learned more about this approach.
The seven skills of resiliency are: insight, independence, creativity, humor, initiative, relationships and values orientation. For example, in the category of “creativity” students learn problem-solving skills, decisions that come from consequences and leisure options to combat boredom.
“The idea is that if you are proficient in the seven skills of resiliency you can bounce back and overcome adversity better,” she said. “We were already teaching resiliency skills but this is the research that backed it up.
She said it’s not really a shift in direction but going from good to great.
“It’s finding a better way to treat students using evidenced-based practices,” she said.
Laura noted one thing that was modified was the focus on treatment in numbers.
“It helped us focus on how to individualize,” she said. “Rather than group sessions it’s more individual to the students.”
Jason Wright, director of education, said students develop social skills and learn new skill sets in Friday afternoon clubs such as performing arts, model making and reading that encourage this new approach.
Laura said there are a lot of high adventure activities that support individual needs such as taking students mountain biking at the local Sundance Ski Resort in the summer, going canoeing and for local bike rides.
“The kids are more engaged in it,” Laura said. “It’s making a greater impact in the rest of the program. It’s a lot more effective, not just in rec therapy but in other areas as well.”